Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce (Inspired by Jonsi)

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THE DISH
Sun-dried tomato sauce (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
I recently learned that a few years ago, Jonsi Birgisson from Sigur Ros made a cookbook with his partner Alex Somers; all raw, vegan dishes that they called their “Good Heart Recipe Book,” along with several cooking videos. Jonsi released his first solo album, Go, last year, and I loved it because it’s light and colorful, with lots of layers and textures, but it doesn’t feel too over-produced or synthetic. Every recipe in Jonsi and Alex’s whole “book” (available as a PDF) is the same way — different colors that come from foods in their natural form, but assembled in ways that create different textures. I chose one of the recipes from the book — the “sundried good heart tomato sauce” — and while I realized I overestimated my fondness of sun-dried tomatoes (as in, I thought I liked them more than I actually do), it was still tasty. My friends and I ate it with pasta and veggies; although I guess maybe we should have kept things raw to keep in line with the book, but oh well.

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Follow This Foodie: Josh Greenfield of The Canon Logic

When you get paid on a regular basis to do something you love, sometimes it just doesn’t feel right to call it a “job.” That’s sort of the case for Josh Greenfield, guitarist and vocalist for Brooklyn rock band The Canon Logic. Outside his time with the band, Greenfield prepares food for parties, plans private rooftop dinners for two, and serves multi-course meals to groups of friends — and even though he makes money from it, he hesitates to call it a business. “The word ‘business’ always scares me,” says the 26-year-old, who runs the non-business with his younger brother Mike and a couple of friends. “It doesn’t feel like work.”

It doesn’t really look like work, either. When I arrive at Greenfield’s Williamsburg loft, he and Mike are in the kitchen pickling cucumbers and carrots, and there are other veggies and fruit scattered on the counter. In the fridge is leftover pie, and a huge tupperware container filled with black bean sliders leftover from a catering job, the latter of which Josh and I eat for lunch with sautéed kale, scrambled eggs, and a spicy salsa made from rooftop garden veggies. It’s a perfectly designed kitchen, which Greenfield says took a lot of planning, and he tells me his friend who’s also involved in the food work just moved in across the hall, so they work in both spaces.

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Peach-Pineapple Salsa (Inspired by Washed Out)

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THE DISH
Peach-pineapple salsa (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
This weekend was HOT. One of my best friends was in town visiting from Michigan, and we were out and about for three straight days — mostly in direct sunlight, sweating more than we would’ve liked to while walking and eating our way through the city. After getting back to my apartment every evening, we needed a light and refreshing meal to cool us down — and on her last night in town, that was sauteed kale and baked tilapia fillets topped with peach-pineapple salsa. The salsa matches how I feel about Washed Out’s music: They’re both bright and combine different textures, but they’re still low-maintenance. The salsa doesn’t require much thinking to make, and it doesn’t take much thinking to enjoy Washed Out’s woozy, repetitive tunes with few vocals — not to mention they’re both perfect for summer. And I chose the peaches because, not only are they refreshing, but Washed Out’s Ernest Greene grew up on a peach farm in Georgia.
Washed Out on MySpace (New record Within and Without is out now on Sub Pop)

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Curried Zucchini Pancakes (Inspired by Pipes You See, Pipes You Don’t)

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F13887972 Pipes You See, Pipes You Don’t – Lost in the Pancakes by ObscureSound

THE DISH
Curried zucchini pancakes (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
Pipes You See, Pipes You Don’t is the project of Peter Erchick, keyboardist from Olivia Tremor Control (and member of the Elephant 6 collective). This dish has nothing to do with his music, except that he just released a record called Lost in the Pancakes, which I think is the greatest album name ever. So here are some pancakes!
Pipes You See, Pipes You Don’t on MySpace

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Fried Green Tomato-Topped Veggie Burgers (Inspired by Sallie Ford)

THE DISH
Hearty veggie burgers topped with fried green tomatoes (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
A couple weeks ago my lovely friend Jill took me to see Jolie Holland at Bowery Ballroom, and she said we needed to get there early to see Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside. Holy whoa was she awesome, and I listened to Ford’s music nonstop for the rest of the week. Of course, the song that really made my ears perk up was a new one called “Fried Green Tomatoes,” which isn’t on her album but was recorded for her Daytrotter session last month (download “Fried Green Tomatoes” and three other tracks there!).

Ford’s voice — a brassy, spastic alto wail — falls somewhere between Etta James and Amy Winehouse. Her LP is called Dirty Radio, and she sings about the fake music being made today. It’s no wonder that most of her record — folk, blues, jazz, rock — sounds like it could’ve been recorded decades ago. The dish I made is also inspired by one of my favorite Brooklyn restaurants, Lodge in Williamsburg, whose rustic interior of tree-stump stools and the adjacent “General Store” also looks like it came from another time. My favorite dish there is the egg sandwich, with a fried egg, pesto, tempeh bacon and a fried tomato. Sallie Ford’s music is hearty, and instead of an egg I made a high-protein veggie burger topped with a fried green tomato; instead of the pesto and bacon I just finished it with normal burger fixins, and it was perfect.

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Classic Potato Salad (Inspired by Wilco)

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THE DISH
Easy-peasy — and low-fat, mayo-less — potato salad (recipe here)

THE INSPIRATION
I started listening to Wilco in high school, and the first album I bought was their super alt-country 1995 debut, A.M.. Reading about them in music magazines around the time A Ghost Is Born came out made me curious, and A.M. was the least expensive CD at the store, so that’s what I got. It’s not a great representation of them as a whole, but that album — especially songs like “I Must Be High” and “Passenger Side” — made for perfect summer driving music. They quickly became one of my favorite bands (and they still are); I saw them for the first time at Lollapalooza in 2006 (my first vacation with friends and no parents), and then they played at my college that fall.

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Growing up I spent lots of summer weekends “up north” (what people who live in lower Michigan call the more northern part of the state — however, that is not necessarily the same as the “U.P.”/Upper Peninsula). My grandpa owned a summer camp in West Branch, Mich., when my mom and her three sisters were young, and for a long time our family still owned several of the cabins (a couple family members still do). My memories from “camp” are of getting lost in a corn field at 2 or 3 years old, picking strawberries, watching my mom and aunt make strawberry jam, catching a trout (and, at 5 years old, promising to eat the whole thing — which I did, thank you very much), paddle boating, and campfires. If you’ve seen those “Pure Michigan” commercials… it’s kinda like that.

Through every phase of their career — the alt-country, sunny acoustic rock, and the more experimental records — Wilco’s songs have always felt like the Midwest: being outside, driving with the windows down, and usually not being in too much of a hurry. Jeff Tweedy assures me that everything is gonna be OK in “Nothingsevergonnastandinmyway(again),” and he makes references to seaside breezes and Michigan beaches in in “Muzzle of Bees” and “Spiders (Kidsmoke).” (Also, because I’m creepy and I read Spencer Tweedy’s blog, I know they vacation in Michigan).

Call this group of Chicagoans “Dad Rockers” and hate on ’em for it all you want: I am a proud Midwesterner, and Wilco is my musical equivalent of comfort food. So when I hosted my New York “family” (who are mostly from Michigan/the Midwest) for a 4th of July party, I wanted to make a comfort-food picnic and cookout staple: potato salad. I’m proud to say I made this up completely from scratch and without using another recipe.


On my Brooklyn rooftop, watching fireworks with a bunch of Michigan kids

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